Herrmann’s book, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, has a chapter about “couth” that discusses, among other things, communicating by e-mail.

He’s now had two reactions to that chapter that he just has to share.

First, right after the book came out, an inside counsel offered this rant about lawyers communicating with clients by e-mail:

“Don’t send me an e-mail transmitting a devastating loss that we just suffered in litigation and then head out to lunch for two hours! When I get that e-mail, the first thing I’m going to do is call to ask about the implications of the decision and how we should react to it. When I call, your secretary can’t tell me, ‘I’m sorry. He just left for lunch and won’t be available until 2:30.'”

More recently, Herrmann gave his Curmudgeon “book talk” as the keynote address at St. John’s Law School’s “Practice Meets Pedagogy” conference. (Remarkably, here’s an action shot of that talk.) Another speaker at the conference, Tracy McGaugh of the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, offered this tidbit about e-mail as a medium for transmitting a message:

Some things have to be communicated in the right way and with the right attitude. You simply can’t send an e-mail with a “subject” line that says “Appeal Denied” transmitting this message:

Court denied your appeal. U will B executed Saturday. Thx. 🙂

With more examples like this, Herrmann may have to write a second edition of Curmudgeon some day.

Heaven help him.